BULIMIA SATURDAY “Showrooms of Perfection”

14 07 2011


I wake up skinny and full of life. A whole Saturday to myself! My plans are plentiful. An Alanon meeting at noon – because Peter is in rehab, I’m told to go to this fellowship, but I think why? I have to go to yet another 12-step group because he has a problem? I’m resentful about another obligation, but I go anyway. Afterword’s I am supposed to do my fashion- market research, which consists of going to all the stores that carry my line and catch up on inspiration. I always walk away with new ideas from those trips and can’t wait to get home to work. At night I will meet a few girlfriends to see a movie and have dinner with. I have a full and exciting Saturday in front of me.

The woman who leads the meeting looks like me, a little bit too much like me. Sure enough, when I get a closer look, I realize that she is Peter’s ex-girlfriend. The last time I saw her was at our loft, when she picked up a few pieces of furniture that she said belonged to her. I was shocked when I saw her: she looked like my twin. So was she.

She stepped outside with Peter and I heard her crying as soon as the door closed behind her. I didn’t want to hear them argue, but she raised her voice as her sobbing turned to screams and I felt empathy and sorrow for her. She was the kind of girl I would like to be friends with.

“You replace me with somebody who looks almost exactly like me? What is wrong with you? I’ve waited for eight years, patiently and faithful for you to get clean. And a soon as you are, you leave me for her?”

“Shh. Please keep your voice down”, he whispered, “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you, it just happened. I fell in love with her, what can I say?”

“But why?” she yelled “Why her? Why not a tall blond one? Why not me? I’ve been a good girlfriend to you. I took care of you. Why?”

I stumbled into the bedroom and crawled under the blanket. I didn’t want to hear this. Peter was the love of my life and I totally trusted him.

Of course, this happened before he had to go back to rehab.

Now this girl, who hates me, leads the meeting. I sink deeper into my seat. I want to leave, but that would draw too much attention in this quiet room, so I stay.

When it is break-time, she walks right up to me. I brace myself. But to my total surprise, she hugs me and looks me straight in the face while she holds both my hands in hers.

“Welcome” she says and then we both break into tears. We hold on to each other while we cry. She gently takes my face into her hands and wipes my tears with her sleeve. I’m in love with this girl. I can’t believe how graceful and generous she is when she introduces me to an endless row of women who all welcome me.

This isn’t so bad after all. I know I will come back here.

After the meeting a few of us go for breakfast and I exchange numbers with other women. I do need this support. The last few weeks have been hell for me. I’m down to 90 lbs and shaky from the worries and fears that he might die before getting into Impact.

But as soon as I get home, instead of dressing up to go on my research trip, I start to cook. I steam a few pounds of broccoli – what can go wrong with this? I’m hungry and broccoli is obviously not a binge-food.

But I am dead wrong. After the first innocent bowl of it, I start to add butter and Parmesan to the next bowl. I scarf it down and reach for a slice of bread to dunk it into the sauce at the bottom of the now delicious dish. Before my next conscious thought makes its way up to my brain, I have devoured half a loaf of bread and a quarter of butter. The broccoli wilts in the pot while I rip open a bag of oatmeal cookies.

A few magazines, a few trips to the bathroom and a few hours later, I’m way too wiped out to go to the stores I planned to visit. I feel fat and bloated and there is nothing left to eat in the house.

 No big deal, I’ll go tomorrow, I promise, I just get more food – nothing to binge on, just so I have something to eat and I still can make it to movie night with Carla and the girls.

I drive to Echo Park – the closest market – and stock up on groceries, normal stuff, healthy food, nothing suspicious, and nothing that will get me into trouble and drive home again.

As soon as I’m alone with my purchases, I check out. Hours later, I’m still glued to the kitchen table, an oil-smeared book spread out next to a plate heaped with pasta, poppy seeds and sugar. A disgusting combination, but it tastes so good. By now I’ve puked at least ten times. I’m high. Not on a good high that makes me feel courageous and adventurous, just woozy and out of it. I’m so removed from myself and my sense of time, that when Carla calls to say that she is on her way to pick me up, I’m startled.

“I’m so sorry. I was just about to call you,” I stammer, “I don’t think I can make it. I got some kind of bug and feel like crap. I’ve been throwing up all day” No shit. You’re not even lying. “I need to take it easy and relax” I say.

“No wonder.” Carla says with concern and care in her voice “You’ve been through hell for the last few weeks. Do you want me to come over with chicken soup? We could just hang out and talk, maybe watch TV?” she offers.

Damn. That would indeed be nice. I feel unspeakably lonely, now that I hear her voice. I need human contact. I need to get up from that fucking table, clean my vomit stained toilet and stop the insane waste of money, food and my health. But I can’t.

“That’s really sweet of you” I manage to say “But I think I would feel horrible if I made you catch what I have” No kidding, you crazy sick bitch, nobody wants to live like this. “I better go to bed and try to sleep it off. Can we talk tomorrow?”

“You’re sure you’re okay alone?” she asks, “I’m not worried about germs and bugs. You shouldn’t be alone in times like this.”

“No really” I sigh, “I just want to go to sleep. I’m sorry to flake out on you. Rain check? Please!”

As soon as she hangs up, I dress in my biggest jeans and drive to East LA, to a Ralphs on First street.

I spend another $80 on food that will end up in the toilet. It is way after midnight, when I finally wash my face, stuff the empty remains and packages of the food that made contact with my stomach for minutes and take the elevator down to the trash bins.

I am exhausted and my whole body shakes with a sugar rush tremor. Sweat drenches my filthy t-shirt and my cheeks are blotchy and hot. I am too tired t take a shower and barely make it back upstairs. On my way to the bedroom, I spot the pot with the now yellow and mushy broccoli. I pour some olive oil, salt and garlic powder on top of it and shovel the whole revolting mess into my now freezing body. The toilet bowl spins when I bend over it, but I’m on automatic pilot and don’t miss a drop when I puke it all up. But then, before I can even pull the handle to wash it down, I pass out.

That’s what you wanted, you retarded cow, to die next to the toilet, filled with gross and disgusting shit!

I come to, pull myself up and flush and try to crawl out of this neon filled room that smells like vomit and death, but I don’t have the strength. I curl up on the bathroom mat and hug my knees.

Why do I do this? I had a whole day, a whole god-given day to enjoy and to live my beautiful life. There are people who starve right around the corner and what do I do? Eat and throw up all day. I need help. I really need help. This isn’t fun anymore. This is hell. I hate myself.

I rock myself into a hate filled half-sleep. I feel like crying, but I’m way too far away from myself right now. And who’d care anyway? I’m alone. No, I’m far from being alone. I’m in a grave of my own choice. I might as well be dead. There is no help for people like me. I’m a worthless waste of a human being. No, wait; human? What’s human about spending 20 hours eating, shopping, purging and shopping, eating and purging again and again? You call that human? No animal would do that. Nobody would do that. So many of my friends are dying from AIDS and they do a much better job clinging to life that I do. I don’t deserve to live. I’m nothing but a piece of shit, letting everybody down, wasting opportunities and priceless hours of life.

I don’t know how long I lay there, curled up, berating myself and freezing. Eventually, I make it to my bed and pull the covers over my head.

Tomorrow will be a better day.



5 responses

15 07 2011
Jeff Bozem

just another beautiful white hot nugget from one of my favorite wtiters……luv this

18 07 2011


18 07 2011
Monah Li

yup. Barf. That’s what this is about. Is this your problem too? You seem to react a lot to my stories. I’m happy to offer you help if you need it.

26 07 2011

Oh, Monah. . .

Thank you.

27 07 2011
Monah Li

I love your comment. Four words that say it all.
How awful and isolating this is and how incredibly lucky I am to have recovery and freedom from it. You’re in Bali? That’s so cool and exciting – you are the true “Hippie to be”.
Much Love

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